I know some of you are probably thinking, "There is a Club Med in Bintan?". Like many of you, I thought Club Med only existed in Cherating, Phuket and the Maldives, and was more of a singles place. But it seems the place is more family-oriented these days.
So when Club Med invited me and my brood to their resort in Bintan, I thought, why not? I told them I would be objective with my views as a newbie to the whole Club Med experience, and they seemed fine with that.
The idea with a Club Med holiday is you pay a per-head price, and you go there to play, eat and drink without needing to pay any more. It is a package deal. There are three buffets a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the spread is actually pretty impressive.
In between meals, you can grab small bites at the bar area and also a free flow of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. A special Kid's Corner is set up there for kids to order mocktails with silly names, like "Don't Tell Mama".
You can do nothing or do everything there. There is a program lined up all day for adults and kids so we did both.
The kids did everything (we dropped them off in the care of the G.O's (Gentil Organisateur) who led them from program to program from morning till evening, including lunch. Thanks for watching my two younger ones, Refa and gang!
And the wife and I did nothing. We chilled out and even had time for a two and a half hour massage/spa treatment at the Club Med Bintan Island Spa by Aramsa.
This is me after our Tropical Java Lulur spa treatment at the treatment-room-with-a-view. Can you see my skin glowing from the full body exfoliation and full body yoghurt wrap? I feel so beautiful now. The wife was also pleased with her 150 minutes of relaxation.
My mom happily watched tv in the room, and sometimes went to swim. And Faith also went swimming at the pool and went for walks at the beach with us.
The journey there was fairly painless. A 45-minute ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal was all it took. Because we had a nasty experience the last time we went to Bintan many years ago, when choppy waters made almost every one in my entourage sea sick, we came prepared. We came equipped with seasick pills but thankfully, the ride there and back was smooth.
The rooms are decent and they had enough tv channels to keep the kids entertained (though the signal was a little fuzzy because they don't use digital). The air conditioning was sufficiently cold which is super important to Singaporeans. And my rooms faced the open space in front of the sea, which was lovely.
My only complaint was that the wifi was spotty where we stayed. We only got decent wifi internet in the common areas and restaurant. Then again, it was nice to not be online so much. This is after all, a vacation.
In the evenings, there was a performance by the G.O's themselves. These enthusiastic hosts who look after you by day, become talented performers by night, led by their chief, Marco.
They even managed to get us dancing at the finale. We conga-ed our way to the bar area after the performances and then we led the kids to the rooms for bedtime. After which the wife and I snuck out for a final drink ourselves.
I have to say, we all enjoyed ourselves. I wish it didn't rain as much but we did have a full Saturday with great weather. I didn't have to plan too much and worry about the logistics. The kids had enough to keep them occupied and my mom, the wife and I even managed to get some time for ourselves. Food was never a problem: if the kids wanted to eat pizza, spaghetti and nuggets during meal times, they could help themselves while we adults had our beef steaks, lamb chops and grilled fish.
It is nice to be taken care of from start to finish. I could get used to this kind of family vacation.
If you are interested, there is a Kids Stay Free promotion going on for Bintan Island, Bali, Cherating Beach and Phuket. Go check it out.
Me, I am now thinking that a Club Med Hokkaido Sahoro ski vacation may be worth looking at.